The Avs played a fun but frustrating match against the defending champs Friday night. The first two periods were a struggle but a strong 3rd got them a point before they predictably folded in overtime.
Sven Andrighetto returned after his 2nd stint on IR and slotted in on the 4th for openers. Big Z was a healthy scratch after getting benched for the 2nd half of Wednesday’s game, Patrik Nemeth was in his place on the 3rd pair. JT Compher has been better and better in practice and could be available soon. Grubi got the start vs his old team.
Scratch: Dano, Big Z, Nieto (LBI)
Injured: Compher (Haut du Corps)
Another quick goal got the Avs a good start but it wouldn’t last. The Caps went on a 17-1 shot run mid-1st that was terrible to watch but produced no goal. Somehow the PK was able to break the cycle and from there it was back and forth until score effects kicked in for most of the 3rd period. A single shot 22 seconds into OT was all the Caps would need to roll out of town with 2 points.
Tale of the tape was a +45/-43 and shots on goal overall ended up 29-26 for the Caps. Despite being out-attempted 3:2 in P1, they were able to suppress quality and keep scoring chances even. This was not the case in the 2nd period where attempts were even but Washington held a sizable advantage in scoring chances and high-danger shots were 5-1 in their favor. The game may have been lost in OT but the middle frame did the damage. I really liked the 3rd, Corsi was +16/-6, scoring chances were +8/-1 and they finally broke through to tie things up late. Game pace was a fairly robust 104 Corsi events per hour, which is decent for the Avs.
PP only had two chances but they did little with them, 1 SOG in 4 minutes. The PK was under fire from one of the best in the league so killing 2 out of 3 is pretty good news. The only goal was on the only truly dangerous chance for the Caps.
Top 6 forwards were Mack, Mikko, Landy, Calvert, Carl and Jost at 5v5 and the top line then Carl, Calvert, Wilson in all situations. Gabe Bourque was low man with 6:07 at 5v5 and 7:50 overall.
The defensive regime went Sam, EJ, Barrie, Cole, Nemeth, Barbs at 5v5 and much the same in all situations. Patrik Nemeth played over 18 minutes after being a healthy scratch last time out and 7 out of his 20 shifts were over a minute long. Shortest shift of the night – 22 seconds, the entire OT. Not good.
– Quiet night for the top line. Landy had a lot of shots on goal but that was about it. Mikko is still looking for his 30th point but he and Mack remain 1-2 in the NHL.
– Carl Soderberg has heated up lately with a goal last night and 5 points in his last 4 games, which coincides with taking one of the plugs off his wing. He’s on pace for a 56 point season with little help from his linemates. At even strength he has 5G/2A, imagine what he could do with real offensive talent beside him.
– It’s more than fair to question the staff’s decision to consistently overplay Matt Calvert, giving him 7 shifts and nearly 6 minutes of TOI trailing in the 3rd period is baffling. You might say, hey he had the primary assist on the tying goal, but basically he blocked a shot from the point with his ass and it dropped right in front of Wilson, who put it in. That’s the extent of his offensive skills. If the Avs end up losing in regulation this deployment becomes indefensible. His on-ice shot metrics are pretty decent but his individual offensive metrics are all around 10th on the team, yet he’s 5th among forwards in TOI. Defensively he’s little better with shot and goal against rates all 10th or below. Getting 4th line production and defense out of your 5th forward is bad business and a losing strategy.
– Grubi had a fine performance against his old team and a good recovery after getting shelled in Vancouver last time out. Still not much of a threat to take Varly’s job but it’s something positive to build on.
Burgundy Narrative Metric
– “Best guys being your best guys” gets a (-) Gabe and TB4 were ok I guess
– Quality vs Quantity gets a (+) neither were high nor low
– Power Play Watchability gets a (-) took a night off after going 3 for 3
– The Dreaded Turtle gets a (+) no lead, no turtle
– Starting Goalie Battle% gets a (+) but this was graded on a curve
– Referee Oppression Index gets a (+) Managed the game with 5 penalties which is nice. I’d prefer they had let the Cole penalty slide at the end like they had been for the previous 58 minutes. Reeked of a make-up call with no reason to make anything up.
A trip to Southern California to play the Duck on Sunday evening. Then 3 days off on the road before taking on the Kings Thanksgiving Eve. Wacky schedule.
Thanks as always to the NHL and Natural Stat Trick for numbers and visuals